Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold hasn’t competed since being shockingly knocked out by Michael Bisping at UFC 199 in June 2016, but he still remains one of the best 185 pounders in the world.
Rockhold will make his return this weekend (Sept. 16, 2017) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 116, as he’s set to take on former WSOF two-division world champion David Branch.
Many were surprised at the booking when it was announced, but Rockhold has said that it was difficult to find an opponent willing to step into the cage with him. Regardless, the ex-champion says that he feels ‘unbeatable’ heading into his return bout:
“We couldn’t find the opponent (earlier this year), but we have the opponent now,” Rockhold told MMAJunkie.com. “I’m ready – more ready than ever. I’m focused. I know what I need to do and how I need to fight. Life in this game is a learning process, and I put myself in the right place.
“Mentally, physically, I’m ready to go. When I’m focused, when I’m patient, I’m unbeatable. I’m in that mindset.”
As far as Branch goes, Rockhold said that he’s a ‘game’ opponent, although he also said that the 35-year-old is not on his level:
“He’s a top-10 opponent,” Rockhold said. “I mean, I looked around – I tried to fight everybody. No one would step up. No one would sign the contract. We have an opponent: We have a top-10 guy. I’m not taking him for granted. I know what he is. He’s a game opponent, but he’s not on my level. I’ll wait for my opportunities and I’ll finish this man. … I know what he is, I know what I am, and I know what’s going to happen Saturday night.”
“He’s going to panic, he’s going to feel my power, and I don’t see this man wanting to stand with me once he feels that.”
Do you expect Rockhold to come out on top on Saturday?